• Great

bird, and there is neither bird nor ter than his own life, and in Israel sons are shadow."

a treasure beyond all other treasures-in. Then, who does not find in the follow- deed, a treasure recognized as given by ing one of the very fables that delighted a benignant Heaven and the light of his his childhood ? Rabbi Naphcha was asked hopes was extinguished in the darkness of by one doctor of the law to tell a pretty despair, and he lifted up his voice and legend ; by another, to expound some wept bitterly. Upon this, his wife meekpoint of law. That is, one wished to hear ly said : “ Weep not thus, my beloved something of halachah, the other of hag- husband. Didst thou not say to me, even gadah. But he could not please either. just now, that we must return with cheerThe legend gave offence to the one : ex- fulness whatever is placed in our chargeposition of the law annoyed the other. when it is called for? These jewels were Therefore he gave this parable : “I am given us of God. He left them with us like the man with two wives, one young, for a time, and we have rejoiced and gloried the other old. The first plucked out his in the possession : but now, beloved husgray hairs to make him seem young, the band, He has called for His own, and we other did the same with the dark hairs, should not repine." that he might look old. Between the But, apart from legendary lore, true ladies he became bald.” This narrative narrative, exposition of doctrine, and mysappears twice in the Talmud : in the tical interpretation, which enters largely treatise on the Roll, and in that on Place into the study of the Talmud, there are of Justice.

hundreds of sentences of wisdom, and We have still a finer echo in the follow- much ethical teaching, suitable as the ing.

common property of mankind. When a Campanian lady on one occasion The world should not have had so much visited Cornelia, the mother of the Grac- to learn from Carlyle on the sacredness of chi, she displayed her jewels ostentatious- Labor, if it had been enforced in no other ly, and asked Cornelia to favor her with a direction than in the Talmud. sight of her own. Cornelia thereupon er, we read in it, “is he who maintains produced her two sons, remarking, “ These himself by his own labor than he that are the only jewels of which I can make fears the Lord ; for of the latter it is said,

Nobly said, indeed, and • Blessed is the man that feareth the worthy of the immortality which is Cor- Lord,' but of the former, “ If thou shalt nelia’s portion. But a story in the Tal- eat the labor of thine band, happy shalt mud has a tenderness in it which might thou be in this world, and it shall be well have wooed Boccaccio's pen. During the with thee in the world to come. absence from his home of Rabbi Meir, Again, God's covenant with man included named the Light of the Law, two of his work : “ Six days shalt thou work, and sons departed to the spiritual world. On the seventh shalt thou rest” made the the return of the Rabbi his wife greeted rest'' conditional on the “ work.” him with a pleasant countenance, and then That speech is silvern and silence is said, “ My husband, some time since there golden, we know from proverb, teachers were two jewels placed in my keeping- of prudence, and philosophic essayists; jewels beautiful, and costly beyond all and we also learn from the Talmud folio price. And to-day, in your absence, the how ancient and well-practised has been owner of the jewels came to me, and I this social sagaoity. With the Babylohave returned them into his possession.” nians, silence was a mark of a man being To which the Rabbi answered that his of good family ; and the Rabbis said, wife had done well ; adding that “we speech is worth one small coin, silence is must always give back with faithfulness and worth two ;" while still higher reverence cheerfulness whatever has been placed in for silence was declared in the maxim, our charge.After a little time, the “Silence is as good as confession." Light of the Law asked for his sons, The wise in Israel sat in judgment upon whereupon the mother took him by the the tongue, the little member-probably, hand, and gently led him into the cham- before St. James denounced the offender, ber of silence, wherein his sons lay dead. which no man can tame. It is an unThe Rabbi gazed upon them, and his great ruly evil, full of deadly poison.” It was heart gave way, for he loved his sons bet. taught in the Rabbinical schools that

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Whoever indulges in slander commits vince bim of the falsity of the Romish sin equivalent to idolatry, adultery, and Church, he answered to the effect that murder”.

'—a statement confirmed by Scrip- what he had seen assured him otherwise, ture verse.

since God for such vice would have exThe perils which attend wealth have tinguished the religion if it had not been been set forth in many forms, from the true, and derived from Himself. Talmudic sheep of the golden fleece, which Rabbi Akiva spoke in the same spirit, could not swim the river-parabolical of but conveying a truth of wider applicathe river on whose thither side lie the tion. When Rabbis Gamaliel, Eleazar, plains of Heaven—to Shakespeare's Timon Judah, and hiinself heard the rejoicings at of Athens, and later ; but never, to our an idolatrous festival, the first three wept, minds, more felicitously embodied than but Akira laughed.

" Wherefore in that rendering of spiritual truth found laugh ?” asked his friends ; " these in the eleventh volume of the Talmud : heathens, who worship their idols, live in There was a fute in the Temple preserved peace and are merry, but, as for us, our from the days of Moses : it was smooth, Holy City lies in ruins. Weep, brother. thin, and formed of a reed. By royal Do not laugh.' " For that very reason I cominand the flute was overlaid with gold, laugh and am glad,” replied Akiva. and this rendered the sound less pleasant. God allows those who transgress to live On the removal of the gold its former happily on earth, how infinitely great must sound was restored.

be the store of happiness in the world to There is an exquisite pathos in that come for those who observe His comsentence of Rabbi Eleazar, but which is mands !” truly the voice of the nation's beart, faith- Charity is enforced throughout the ful, though oppressed and in exile : whole of the Talmud, but nowhere more "Since the Temple was destroyed the strikingly than in the sacred legend found gates of prayer have been closed : but the in 'the treatise Sanhedrin. Tbe distance gates of tears are still open.”

from Garav to Shilo was three miles ; and Humanity to animals it is one of Eng- the smoke from the holy altar and that of land's glories to have enshrined in the the incense offered to the image of Micah poetry of Wordsworth. It vitalizes the used to intermingle. Thereupon the min. religions of India. That it also shone in istering angels desired to expel Micah. the religion from whence Christianity “Nay,” said the Eternal One, “ let him sprang, let the following verify: A calf alone, for his bread is supplied to wayprepared for slaughter put its head into farers.” the lap of Rabbi the Holy, but he repelled The beneficence of Heaven is familiar it with the remark, “Go, for this is the to all in the words of Jesus of Nazareth : end of thy creation.” Therefore it was said God sendeth rain on the just and on the in Heaven : “ Because he is pitiless, Jet unjust.” The Talmudic peculiar form of aliiction come upon him." But one day thought cannot be better illustrated than his maid-servant, in sweeping his room, by its presentation of the same truth : chanced to annoy some young kittens ; " The gift of rain is so far better than the upon which the Rabbi said, “Leave them revivification of the dead, since the latter alone, for it is written : His tender iner: benefits only the righteous, whereas the cies are over all His works,' ?" and there former benefits both the righteous and the upon the decree was rescinded.

wicked.have pity upon him,” was said in Heaven, And so we could go on until we should " because he is pitiful.'

overrun the pages of this niagazine. As It is a well-known incident, that a de- for the space at our disposal, we shall ocvout Roman Catholic was induced to go to cupy it with a selection of sententious reRome in the belief that the iniquitous con- marks from the Talmud, which are worthy duct practised there, under the shadow of to stand by the side of the Spartan Laconics the Papal throne, would disgust him with of Plutarch, or that Eddaic poem wherein the religion of which he was a pure and Odin concentrated his wisdom for the good shining light. He returned strongly con- of human kind. firmed in his faith. When asked whether

He who can feel ashamed will not readily do the revolting condition of ecclesiastical so

wrong. ciety which he had witnessed did not con- He who wrongs his fellow-man, even in a


66 Let us



small coin, is as wicked as if he should take festival : “If I am here, all are here ; life.

but, if I am not here, who is here ?"'* Who gives charity in secret is greater than Moses.

The sun will go down without your assistLook not at a jng, but at its contents. A new jug may contain old wine, an old one may Use a noble vase even for one day-let it be empty.

break to-morrow. Receive every man with a cheerful counte- One candle gives light for a hundred men as

well as one. The thief who finds no opportunity to steal To have no faithful friend is worse than considers himself an honest man.

death. Despise no man ; deem nothing impossible ; It is not incumbent upon thee to complete every man has his hour, and everything has the work. But thou must not therefore cease its place.

from it. Cat and rat make peace over a carcase.

The Bible was given us to establish peace. When thou art the only purchaser, then buy ; when other buyers are present, be thou And, once more, we might go on and nobody.

give ten sentences for one, and have proThe woman of sixty will run after music like

longed pleasure in this literary wayfaring. one of six.

In the matter of the Talmud, we can only What a child talks in the street, that it has heard from its parents in the house.

be as hewers of wood and drawers of A woman prefers poverty, with the affection water-but, then, the trees are beautiful, of her husband, to riches without it.

renowned as the cedars of Lebanon ; even Do not live near a pious fool.

when consumed they fill the air with fraThe rose grows among thorns.


And the waters are n:ore virtu. It is a well-known saying that wherever ous than those of Abana and Pharpara M'Gregor sits, there is the head of the they are indeed of the well-spring of youth. table. In the Talmud we read that “It Having said so little of a great subject, we is not place which confers honor upon the should add that any desire of knowing man, but the man who confers it on the

more can be satisfied with the trilling place." And Hillel, the elder, was ac- trouble of inquiry.- Gentleman's Magacustomed to say on a particular annual zine.



for the many

To begin with the expected quotation, political. It was they who gave voice to “Give me the making of the people's popular criticism, popular discontent, songs, and I care not who makes the popular rejoicing ; every mood of passion laws. This saying has been a thousand being embodied with a condensation of times quoted, but not always, perhaps, in force and feeling to which the raillery or a sense accordant with its author's mean- the sadness of music added its own irreing. He may have meant that the inan sistible significance. The tract for the few who makes the people's songs can make who could read, the

song or unmake the lawmakers ; and if that who could not. That was the order of was the assertion, no doubt there was a things till about the time when it was no great deal of truth in it. But the poet

But the poet longer necessary to distinguish one shop has always given himself a higher place from another by hanging a sign from the than he assigns to the legislator ; legisla- door. Then began the reign of the public tion is merely a function of wbat we call journal ; and soon afterward Fletcher's magistracy; and beyond that there are vast fields of influence more fertile and

* Agesilaus the Great, when a boy, and set more lasting. Yet whatever“ Fletcher of

in a dishonorable place, submitted, saying, Saltoun"

have intended by the say-

“Ill show that it is not the places that grace ing he is best remembered by, it is true

the men, but men the places." When the that for a long stretch of time ballad-mak

master of a solemnity set Damonides in the

lowest place the latter said, “ You have found ers and song-writers were the only inspir- a way to make that place, which was infamous ers and spokesmen of the people in affairs before, noble and honorable."

were re


saying was superseded by another less ro- though these are published weekly for the mantic and more unequivocal. Now it most part, they must still be reckoned in. was said that the one almighty engine of So likewise must the cheap weekly jour. power was the Press.

nals devoted to general news and the disThis we still hear ; but it is pretty well cussion of public affairs, which distribute understood on all bands that there is not hundreds of thousands of sheets all over so much truth in the pretension nowadays the country from London, where before as there used to be. But if the influence they printed tens. of the press is less vigorous, less swecping When we turn from this spectacle of and immediate than at some periods of journalistic advancement to the provincial the present century, it is not because it press, the multiplication of newspapers and works in a shrunken sphere, or has lost its newspaper reading appears yet more of a freedom, or speaks with fewer voices. In prodigy. Not many years since, nearly our own time the number of newspapers the whole of the country was supplied and newspaper readers has increased at a with morning newspapers from London. prodigious rate. When a certain journal Here and there, indeed, some very rewas founded on plans of mine and under spectable prints were published daily in my guidance, and cven when that journal the great provincial towns ; but they were had achieved a considerable notoriety, the comparatively few, and whole issue of the London newspaper press garded by their readers as of much auof an evening did not amount to twenty thority. Some weight the best of them thousand copies : I doubt whether it may have had, but, taken generally, it amounted to fifteen. Just before then the may be said of them without injustice evening, press--which prosperous that, in relation to the great London jourenough in the earlier years of the century nals, they stood in much the same posi—had suffered so grave a decline that it tion as the local metropolitan papers stand had almost gone out of existence ; though to the same prints to-day. All that has meanwhile the morning press had increased changed. The greater London journals largely, both in volume and in power. are still the best, not only in these islands One or two evening newspapers had died but in the world. Not that they are the out altogether, these including the cheap. best in every particular. They are not est and by no means the least attractive better written, not so well written on the from any point of view. Whether more whole, as some French and some German than one evening journal survived at that journals. Judged by literary standards period I forget ; but, according to report, alone, the finer qualities of political disthe one that had gone on froin the year quisition are more constantly found in half 1803, and still goes on with a great accu- a dozen foreign newspapers than in any mulation of patronage, did not sell a thou- that are published at home, where we Jack sand copies when my

little paper was start- the terseness, the clearness, the brilliancy ed in 1866 ; but then the price of the oc- expression, the weight of intention, togenarian was three times what it is now. which frequently adorn and invigorate the At the present day, seven evening papers work of continental journalists. The are published in London, and the aggre- difference is yet more clearly seen, pergate sale of them every afternoon cannot baps, in some other departments of critifall short of three hundred thousand cop. cism dramatic criticism for example. ies in the dullest times, and is probably But when other qualities are taken into much larger even when no great excite. account-knowledge, independence, scope ment occurs to double the number. The and variety of information—the London difference is enormous, and it is not ac- newspapers are unequalled. counted for by any diminution in the sale Nevertheless, the difference between of moroing papers. On the contrary, the them and the betterinost provincial papers aggregate circulation of these journals has is diminishing at a rapid rate, and is likely expanded vastly, while additions to become inconsiderable before many have been made to their number. There years are passed. As it is, the citizens of are local journals in existence-parish Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, journals, so to speak—with a larger circu- Liverpool, Birmingham, and other great lation than some of the greater London towns have no such need of a Times or a newspapers enjoyed thirty years ago ; and Standard as they had in the last genera


The "


tion ; especially as their own papers sup- I question whether a single journal —the ply them not only with abundant general Times—bad not more authority of that news and the comment of good writers, kind in the days of Palmerston than the but with a daily budget of information whole body of the press exerts at this useful for local business which cannot be moinent. At any rate, the condition of found elsewhere. It might be supposed, things has changed so much that there are therefore that the circulation of newspapers strong reasons for thinking so, even apart published for the country at large (as the from this important fact : down to Palmer. greater London prints ale) would become ston's time the machinery of Government narrowed ; that, at any rate, its expavsion was more limited, more compact, more would be sensibly checked, and of course capable of being influenced immediately it is impossible to say how much it has by any single powerful agency than in been limited to the home counties by pro. these days of diffused and confused auvincial rivalry. But the point for obser- thority. It is something to the purpose, vation is that the London press speaks by too, that the discussion of public affairs hundreds of thousands of mouths more proceeded upon simpler lines then than than it did five-and-twenty years ago, it does now : simpler, fewer, and more dithough meanwhile a dozen daily prints rect. Social problems were as numerous have risen to distinction in as many great in the egg, no doubt ; but they were in cities, and perfectly satisfy nine-tenths of the egg. Of course I mean that for the their inhabitants.

most part they were in this condition. I say a dozen, speaking of the more im. That extremely baleful creature, the fadportant of them only. But if we look for dist, had not arisen to start cross-currents à moment to the statistics of newspaper of perversity in every stream of political progress, we shall see that, whereas no action.

questions of the day" than twelve daily journals were were much less confused, presenting themprinted in the United Kingdom fifty years selves to all concerned-public, press, and ago, the total number is now a hundred ministers alike— with fewer complexities and eighty ; and the whole circulation of of consideration than have since been in. the twelve, Times included, did not nearly troduced into the whole range of public equal the sale of two popular journals of affairs. Obviously this was a great adto-day. In all, 2,200 newspapers are now vantage to the journalist, whose business published, and 470 of them are issued it is to go straight to the main points of from London alone-a greater number than the question in hand, and who is lost if he sufficed for the whole population of the has to run into a dozen “ side issues”? three kingdoms at the time of the Corn- after as many several packs of readers. law agitation.

That, however, is but one thing. II.

more obvious reason for suspecting that

the influence of the press has declined is After glancing at these figures, we may that the multiplication of clamorously proceed to ask whether it is true that competitive newspapers has ended in a while the scope of newspaper influence has babel more tiresome than impressive, so widened so prodigiously it has become less far as the general reader is concerned. powerful ? There are reasons why we It is needless to dwell upon that point. should hesitate to say that it has, and Evidently, where one voice speaks with a many considerations must be taken into more sonorous eloquence and a more comaccount before answering the question. manding authority than all the rest, there One thing, however, seems clear without will be eager listeners, and by such a voico much argument. The influence of news. the majority may be persuaded. But paper writing in political affairs has not when twenty preachers at Paul's Cross are increased proportionately with its scope, working away at once, expounding four or anything like it. The public journals different doctrines with a nearly equal noise have a million readers where they had and with no vast preponderance of ability only a few thousands at the beginning of in any pulpit, the case is altered. One the century ; but it is doubtful whether Mr. Gladstone, Lord Randolph they have as much power over the public Churchill, one Mr. Chainberlain always mind or the conduct and decision of on the platform might be not only interaffairs. To speak my own mind frankly, esting but weighty. But what if there


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